2022 BIPOC Speaker Series
We are committed to offering exceptional dog training resources to the community, and our free webinars help us simultaneously reach many people with the support they need. We have been lucky to have such amazing local and national speakers grace us with their wisdom, and continue to be humbled by the generosity of their time.
In 2022, we announced an addition to our webinar program: the Maddie's Fund BIPOC Speaker Series! This series focuses on highlighting voices that are often underrepresented in dog behavior, including voices of color. We strive to make dog training a more inclusive space, and representation among trainers (and students!) is incredibly important to us. We are so thrilled to hear more from amazing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) trainers and behavior experts!
Rachel Forday, VSA-CDT, CCUI, (she/they) runs a dog training business, Dog At Heart, where they specialise in working virtually with clients around the world who have dogs with fear-based and reactivity issues through their comprehensive programmes. Rachel puts an emphasis on helping dogs with these issues feel more relaxed overall, starting from in the home, to out in the real world, as well as helping the human end of the leash feel safe and more confident in working with their dogs.
Outside of training, Rachel is very active on social media, especially on Instagram where she manages a few pages including her dog Dave’s page and her own training page. On these social media platforms, Rachel is also vocal in speaking up about anti-oppression, the humane and ethical treatment of dogs, and the intersectionality of it all. They also run a podcast called Out Of The Woofworks that speaks about these topics.
Topic: Reactivity: Easy Mode Activated! (Oct 15)
San Choi, KPA-CTP (he/him) is the founder of Ruff Roll Academy. He loves supporting people and dogs in their efforts to live fulfilling lives together.
(he's not big on writing bios, but check him out on Instagram @ruffrollacademy
Topic: From Reactive to Relaxed- Outdoor Survival Skills (Oct 5)
Namita (she/her) is a multi certified dog trainer and behaviour consultant. While her caseload is primarily Reactivity based, she enjoys encouraging people to include trick training and enrichment in their lives with dogs. Born and raised in India, Namita has had experience with street dogs and advocates for an autonomous mindset when it comes to training dogs. For this reason she has dedicated her Instagram page to challenging traditional dog training methods and myths. While she is based in Vancouver, Canada, she is available to work virtually with clients worldwide. IAABC ADT, CPDT KA, Certified Trick Dog Instructor, Fear Free Certified
Topic: Clean Mechanics and Clear Communication (Sept 23)
After working in the pet industry for quite sometime, Masina (she/her) decided to head back to school in 2018 to pursue a career as a professional dog trainer. Currently she is attending the Academy For Dog Trainers. In this ever-changing industry that is dog training, she makes sure she is always up to date on her education! Masina loves to work with reactive dogs, rescues and puppies and brings a non- judgmental, fun & calm energy to her sessions. Masina is a great mentor for other aspiring BIPOC trainers & is proud to be the first Black, Force-Free dog trainer in the lower mainland.
Topic: The Importance of Dog Body Language (Sept 6)
Kassidi Jones (she/her) is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in African American Studies and English at Yale, and a first-time dog mom. A poet and social justice advocate, Kassidi now lives in Connecticut with her pup, Ginger. She is the Content Creator behind @Gingers_Naps
Topic: Allyship and Anti-Racist Animal Advocacy (Aug 18)
Karishma Warr, MA, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CSAT (she/them) is the Co-Founder and Head of Training at Calm Canine Academy, and is an industry leader in treating complex behaviors concerning fear, anxiety and aggression, in an urban environment.
Topic: Managed Walking for Every Dog (July 16)
Dr. Linlin Cao
Linlin (she/her) has always been passionate about science. When she was working on her PhD dissertation in Material Science and Nano Engineering, she fostered and later adopted her reactive dog Niko, and Niko has opened her eyes to the wonderful world of positive reinforcement and animal behavior. She believes effective training should be based on two-way communication between the trainer and the dog, and she is passionate about giving control back to the dog. She is fascinated by building strong human/dog communication and trust through learning together.
Linlin grew up in a small town in China and came to Rice University in Houston, TX for graduate school. Now she lives in the Washington DC area and owns Dogtor Training. Linlin competes in nosework with her reactive dog Niko and field Labrador Sunny, and competes in Rally/Obedience with Niko. She also enjoys learning tricks and Control Unleashed exercises with her cat Simon. Linlin is currently training to become a Certified Professional Canine Fitness Trainer (CPCFT) to help dogs’ mind and body.
Topic: Cooperative Care Unleashed (Jun 8)
Dr. Moira Hechenleitner
Dr. Moira Hechenleitner (she/her) graduated from Mayor University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007, in Santiago, Chile. She is a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT), with a postgraduate in Animal-Assisted Therapy.
Dr. Hechenleitner is a founding board member of the Chilean Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT Chile) and has spent the last 14 years offering consultation services for pet owners and teaching courses to dog trainers. She is a speaker on the topic of Separation Anxiety, giving seminars internationally in English and Spanish.
Moira currently resides in Mystic, Connecticut and helps dogs and their families from all over the world overcome separation anxiety. You can find her at separationanxietydog.com
Topic: Is It Really Separation Anxiety? (May 18)
Curtis (he/him) is the founder and trainer for Pet Parent Allies. He has been training for nine years in Baltimore and now in Philadelphia. He is a certified CPDT-KA, and primarily works with reactivity, aggression, and fear in dogs.
As a dog trainer, his favorite moments are when a new understanding passes between dog and human. At that moment, everyone is on the same page about the objectives and the pathway to success. He has found that training and succeeding together helps to root the bond that people and dogs share more deeply. He strives to make training an ingredient to connecting relationships between people and their dogs more profoundly and powerfully.
When not at work, he enjoys spending his time hiking, gardening, and reading. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Karen and their Doberman, Vista.
Topic: Self-Control for the Modern Dog (April 19)
Adam Skandarani, CCUI (they/them) has been working with dogs professionally for over 6 years as a pet care professional and behavior consultant. They are a Certified Control Unleashed Instructor, a USCSS judge, and a member of the IAABC, APDT, and PPG. Adam actively competes in scent work, obedience and agility with their 5-year-old Boxer, Flash Gordon.
Adam is dedicated to helping both companion & performance dogs live their best lives by providing a holistic training approach, with an emphasis on building trust & communication.
Adam's experience training cats & parrots adds depth to their understanding and application of positive reinforcement based methods.
Topic: Your Dog's Love Language (March 15)
*P.S.- we know there are lots of folks who identify with the term "BIPOC" and many who don't. Some prefer People of Color (and others don't). We know there's no perfect word or term that feels right to a huge group of individual humans! So you'll probably see us use a mix of terms in our site and social media, and we acknowledge that one or more of them might feel right for you (or might not). If there are terms that feel most comfortable for you, we'd love to hear more! firstname.lastname@example.org